British Virgin Islands Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, and subsequent years saw the English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates. There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period; it is thought that they either fled to safer islands or were killed.
  • The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648, frequently clashing with the Spanish who were based on nearby Puerto Rico. *In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, and the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680.
  • Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix (i.e. the modern US Virgin Islands).
  • The British islands were considered principally a strategic possession. The British introduced sugar cane which was to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, and large numbers of slaves were forcibly brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations.
  • The majority of the population (76.9%) are Afro-Caribbean, descended from slaves brought to the islands by the British[1]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "British Virgin Islands", in Wikipedia,, accessed 6 May 2021.